Poet's showcase

By Shannon Musgrave

My grandmother always loved severe weather.

As a child,
when frightened by a storm,
I would go to her for comfort,
for I knew even then
she was a friend of the lightening
and understood
the thunder's tongue.

These days,
when a storm is imminent,
I wheel her
to the veranda of the nursing home
and sit with her
to watch the weather change.

She doesn't remember me,
she doesn't remember
her own words now,
but I know
she still speaks
the language of the storm,

for when the sky darkens
and the air cools,
when the storm rolls in,
she takes a deep breath

and lifts her face to the wind.

He steapped off the trail...
By John Musgrave

He stepped off the trail
a few meters
with his rifle and
his E-tool
to relieve himself
when he tripped
what must have been
a booby trapped
bomb or artillery shell.

One moment he was
alive with a gut cramp
and diarrhea,
the next instant
he was vaporized.

When his remains
were collected by his buddies
and placed in a poncho
his squad leader
carried him back
to the LZ --
his rifle in one hand,
the poncho
in the other
like a bag
of dirty socks.

Soon his mother
would receive the
"body" of her son
who left home
three months before
a 170 pound Marine
and who now, what was left,
weighed less
than the baby boy
she had brought
into this world
just eighteen years before.

- Husband and wife John and Shannon Musgrave live in Baldwin. John is retired; Shannon works part-time as a reiki master practitioner. The Musgraves will read their work at 7 p.m. Friday as part of the 2004 Lawrence Poetry Series. The series will present area poets every Friday in April -- National Poetry Month -- at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.


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